Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nervous interviews

Today I did an interview with Las Vegas Metro Sgt. Misty Pence for a story to air Friday at six. Metro's Public Information Officer, Bill Cassell, told me ahead of time that this was her first tv interview, and that she was nervous. That's a situation we encounter a lot. I usually try to crack a few jokes while the photographer sets up the lights and microphones, and then I'll start asking about some other subject, like the memorabelia on their office walls. It turns out, Sgt. Pence was just fine.

Here's a behind the scenes video I made with photographer Nick Pantazzi, Officer Cassell, and Sgt. Pence. I left out the substance of her interview (you'll have to wait until Friday for that), but included a bit where she explained some funny quotes she has written on a white board in her office. (The quotes are a little odd out of context, so I decided not to show you them.) The point is even the police turn to humor when the job gets emotionally difficult.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

YouTube video

I'm on a technology kick here, kids. I've decided to start posting our stories on a YouTube page. And you can also find the recent ones on the right-hand edge of the blog.

Dub Day

Sophia is sick, and most law enforcement agencies are bogged down preparing for New Year's Eve. That's not exactly a crime "trend," and our "general assignment" reporters are tackling that. So, I spend some time on another task...

Dr.s appointment in the afternoon...

Monday, December 29, 2008


Kids First producer Kathy Topp and I decided to have some fun with the Flip camera our boss gave me a few months back. The results: the first of what could be future "behind the scenes" videos.

Fireworks, don't fire guns

North Las Vegas Police want to stop "celebratory" gunfire, especially on New Year's Eve. Here's the release they sent us today:

INCIDENT: Stepped-up Enforcement Intended to Reduce Celebratory Gunfire New Years Eve

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV – Each year parts of North Las Vegas experience a high volume of celebratory gunfire during the holidays. Over the past four years the WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN campaign has aimed at reducing celebratory gunfire through community education via public service announcements, posters, flyers, news stories, and officer intervention. This year, in addition to the public prevention drive the department will significantly increase enforcement of state and local gun and shooting laws during the holidays.

There have been several shooting injuries in the past in North Las Vegas resulting from celebratory gunfire, primarily on New Years Eve. Fortunately, no one has been killed or gravely injured by this behavior. On New Year’s Eve 2008, NLVPD will vigorously enforce weapons statutes. “We intend to curtail this behavior as much as possible before someone gets seriously injured or killed in our city”, said Police Chief Joe Forti, who has added additional police officers to patrol on New Years Eve; some specifically assigned to respond to celebratory shooting calls.

The following laws and municipal codes apply:

- North Las Vegas Municipal Code (NLVMC) 9.32.110, Firing a weapon within city limits.

- NLVMC 9.36.120, Unlawful possession of pistol by user of narcotics, convicted felon, fugitive, drunkard, or non-naturalized citizen.

- Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 202.290, Aiming a firearm at human being; discharging a weapon where person might be endangered.

- NRS 202.257, Possession of firearm when under influence of alcohol, controlled substance or other intoxicating substance.

The following tips should be followed by all holiday revelers;
- Do not allow firearms at celebrations;
- Do not shoot firearms during celebrations;
- Call 911 if you witness someone firing a gun in the City limits;
- Call 311 for non-emergencies.
- Never mix alcohol and firearms.

Due to the high volume of called received each year at the peak hours when celebratory gunfire occurs, we are urging citizens to call 911 when they see someone firing a rifle or handgun and can help pinpoint the location so officers may safely respond and hopefully arrest the shooter. Callers should refrain from using 911 to report “possible gunfire” since many times it is simply fireworks that they hear. We need 911 lines open for actual shooting calls.
We are interested in participating in pro-active news stories over the next three days that will help raise awareness of this problem. On New Year’s Eve, we can support interviews (live or taped) for any newscast and we invite reporters / photographers to meet or ride with a PIO to view enforcement activity. For more information contact the Public Communications Office at 633-1824.

Law Enforcement Deaths in 2008

From the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund:

Washington, DC — 2008 is ending as one of the safest years for U.S. law enforcement in decades. The number of officers killed in the line of duty fell sharply this year when compared with 2007, and officers killed by gunfire reached a 50-year low.

I'm back

I'm back from my vacation, and its still slow here. Kids First producer Kathy Topp and I are working on something special. I'm hoping it will be ready for a blog update this afternoon. We also have Manhunt Monday on the schedule for 5pm today. Unfortunatly, we're still waiting for information from the Public Information Office over at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. There was a incident yesterday where three Metro officers were shot at by a suspect, and I figure that the officer assigned to Manhunt Monday is probably busy on that incident too... so we may be waiting for our information for a while.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Half the team is on vacation

Sophia is the face of Crime Tracker 3, but I'm at least half the brains. I do a lot of the research and interviews for Sophia. I'll be off from Dec. 20 to 28, but Crime Tracker 3 will still bring you our regular Manhunt Monday and Friday Family Focus stories that week. I know this, because I've spent the past few days getting them ready. I also produced our "Your Safety in 2009" special report that will air on New Year's Day. Now that all that is done, I've turned the keys over to Sophia, and I'll be heading to my hometown, Geneseo, NY, where things are just a little bit slower than here in Las Vegas.

See you in ten days.

FBI release: New Information on White Powder Letters to Governors

For Immediate ReleaseDecember 19, 2008
FBI DallasContact: Special Agent Mark White(972) 559-5000
Suspicious White Powder Letters Received Around the United States
Since Monday, December 8, letters containing a note and suspicious white powder have been received by the offices of more than 40 governors across the country. Additional letters have been received at several U.S. Embassies overseas, said Robert E. Casey, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Dallas FBI.
The white powder in each of these letters has been field screened and the tests have met with negative results. The powder has been forwarded to local laboratories and testing to date has been negative for biological agents. The FBI has contacted the governors’ offices and the State Department to be on the lookout for additional letters.
Today, Mr. Casey announced the release of additional information regarding these mailings, to solicit the public’s help to identify the person or persons responsible for these crimes. Photographs of envelopes sent to governors’ offices are below. Although the photographs are of the envelopes sent to the governors of North Carolina and Connecticut, they are similar in content to all letters sent to the governors’ offices and embassies overseas.

These envelopes have the following characteristics:
1.The postmarks reflect mailing on December 4, December 8, or December 11, 2008.
2.The postmark is either “Dallas, Texas” or “North Texas”. The “North Texas” postmark reflects the envelope was processed through the mail facility in Coppell, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
3.The return addresses used have been one of four addresses for FBI offices in Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and El Paso, Texas. Names have been redacted from these addresses; the FBI is not disclosing the names at this time.
4.There is a note within the envelope. The content of that note has been the same in each mailing. Although the content of the note is not being disclosed at this time, the meaning of the message is not clear.
Although the substance contained in the mailings is not harmful, the threatening mailings not only constitute a federal crime, but cause alarm to victims and victim institutions and expend costly resources of police, fire, and other emergency responders and state, local, and federal laboratories.
The FBI and United States Postal Inspection Service intend to vigorously investigate these crimes and arrest the person or persons responsible.
The Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for these mailings.
Anyone with information on who may be sending these letters is requested to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI (1-800-225-5324), the Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455, or local law enforcement. If you receive a letter, please notify the FBI and your local authorities. Information on how to handle a suspicious package can be found on
**Note: All of the above photographs are of the highest quality available.**

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Suspect wanted for attacking mother and child

Metro Officers are asking for the public’s help in locating a suspect wanted for violently attacking an infant child and her mother during a recent family disturbance.
Dazaeth Rojas, who also uses the names of Dazaeth Rojasperalta and Dazaeth Peralta, is a Hispanic male adult, 21 years of age, 5'9" tall weighing approximately 160 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes.
During the late evening hours of December 6 , 2008 Rojas was involved in an argument with his girlfriend in 4400 block of Pennwood Avenue. During this confrontation Rojas violently attacked the woman’s young daughter, who ultimately was transported by ambulance to an area hospital for treatment of severe injuries.

When his girlfriend attempted to intervene and protect her daughter, Rojas also attacked and injured her. Following the attack Rojas left the area in an early 90's Nissan Pathfinder, white in color.
Because of this incident Rojas is currently wanted on an outstanding warrant charging him with felony child abuse.
Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Dazaeth Rojas should contact the L.V.M.P.D. Dispatch Center at the non-emergency number, 3-1-1, or Crime Stoppers at 385-5555.

Let the slow news begin

Yesterday's snowfall made for a very busy and hectic day and night at News 3. Now I'm eager for the slow news to begin. As the holidays approach, you'll probably notice a few stories that come around every year at this time. One of these stories is the reminders against drinking under the influence. Here's one of the first of many news releases we'll get over the next few days on this subject.
Joining Forces
DUI Checkpoint
December 19, 2008

In order to address the potential increase in the number of intoxicated, or impaired drivers on the road during the holiday season, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Traffic Bureau along with Bolden Area Command, Henderson Police Department, and the Nevada Highway Patrol will be conducting a “Sobriety Checkpoint” on Saturday, December 27, 2008, starting at 7:00 PM until 3:00 AM, in the area of Sahara/Valley View.

The checkpoint will focus on identifying drug and alcohol impaired drivers prior to their involvement in a collision, thereby increasing the safety of all Southern Nevada motorists. This effort is coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and is partially funded by a grant from the Nevada Department of Public Safety / Office of Traffic Safety.

Robbery Suspect

Robbery Suspect
Date: 12/17/2008
Case #: 081210-3468
Black Male, 18-25 years old 5'6" Thin build, T-shirt & jeans Possibly beige or silver Pontiac

**********FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**************
LVMPD Robbery Section Sgt. Ziros Det. Flynn On December 10, 2008 at approximately 8:25 am the above suspect approached the victim as she was leaving a drug store in the 8300 block of West Cheyenne. The suspect demanded money and then hit the victim knocking her to the ground. The suspect grabbed the victims purse and fled. The suspect was observed driving the above pictured vehicle which may be a beige or silver Pontiac. Detectives are requesting the public's assistance in identifying this suspect. Anyone with information is urged to call the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Robbery Section at (702)828-3591 or, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (702)385-5555. A cash reward may be available to the person providing information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. Las Vegas Metro Police Department - Robbery Section (702) 828-3591

Walk-a-way apprehended

We don't normally cover the many walk-a-ways from the Casa Grande transitional center. I bet you didn't even know this man was missing....

FROM: Suzanne Pardee
Public Information Officer
DATE: December 18, 2008
SUBJECT: walk-a-way apprehended (Joseph Borga)


Officials of the Nevada Department of Corrections report that inmate Joseph Borga was apprehended on December 16 by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Inmate Borga walked away from the Casa Grande Transitional Housing facility on November 12, 2008.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

10 Quick Security Tips

With the holidays comes traveling, and empty homes. So here are some suggestions from the Burglary Prevention Council.

1.) Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened. An open window or door is an open invitation for burglars. Thieves are also quick to spot weak locks that may be easily forced open. Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one inch throw and reinforced strike plate with three inch screws. All windows should have window locks.

2.) Secure sliding glass doors. Place a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track and install vertical bolts. These will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track.

3.) Always lock the door to an attached garage. Don't rely on your automatic garage door opener for security.

4.) Create the illusion that you are home. by using timers on lights, radios and TV's. Making your residence appear occupied, even when no one is home, will deter criminals.

5.) Keep the perimeter of your home well lighted. Installing low voltage outdoor lighting is a cost-effective way to discourage intruders, as well as highlight a house.

6.) Never leave clues that you are away on a trip. Have a trusted neighbor collect mail and newspapers while you are away so delivered items do not accumulate. You can also ask a neighbor to park in your driveway or parking place to make it appear that you are present.

7.) Keep some shades and blinds up and curtains open to maintain a normal, everyday appearance in your residence.

8.) Never leave a message on your telephone answering machine telling people that you are away from home. A message that you will return at a certain time leaves your home vulnerable in the interim.

9.) Keep shrubbery trimmed away from entrances and walkways. While large, ornate hedges may be beautiful, they also provide a hiding place for burglars who need only a minute to break in through a window or door.

10.) Organize a community watch program to protect your neighborhood. An alert community is a safe community.

Errors in Sex Offender Registries

Interesting article in the Idaho Statesman. It refers to a Dept. of Justice report on the National Sex Offender Registry. Turns out, about 22% of the records in the registry are incomplete. Local agencies tell us that keeping their databases complete and accurate is a constant challenge. They send officers out to check on registered offenders, but the system is set up to essentially depend on the offender to register their data and keep it updated.

Update on White Powder in Governor's mail

Last Friday, Dec. 12, I had the pleasure of spending an hour in the parking lot of the Cashman Center waiting for an FBI agent to come and read a press release about the "white powder" incident in the Governor's mailroom at the Grant Sawyer Building on East Washington. I had read that same press release before noon, before I even left the newsroom to go wait for the "official" word.

Now I'll give you the "unofficial word." A government source says he spoke with the state employee who handled the letter, and was told the letter had a Dallas, TX postmark, and a return address from San Antonio. The FBI will only say the letters are from Texas. During our brief question and answer session, I asked which city the letters came from, and the agent would only say, Texas. I then asked which FBI field office was directing the investigation and he replied "Dallas." And when I asked him if that indicated where the letters were coming from, he replied "As I've said, the letters are postmarked 'Dallas.'"
Except, he had not said.

I've covered a few "white powder" scares since 2001, and the authorities have only once revealed the final determination on the "white powder." That exception is a funny story. The white powder was found in a box in a sugar factory. Of course, that got a few chuckles in our Florida newsroom. It turned out the powder was a form of silicon used to keep needle-fine pieces of machinery dry. You need to keep things dry in a sugar plant, because wet sugar is a mess.

Today, the FBI's national press office issued this update on the white powder investigation.

For Immediate ReleaseDecember 17, 2008
FBI DallasContact: Special Agent Mark White(972) 559-5000
Suspicious White Powder Letters Received Around the United States
Since Monday, December 8, letters containing a note and suspicious white powder have been received by the offices of more than 40 governors across the country. Additional letters have been received at several U.S. Embassies overseas, said Robert E. Casey, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Dallas FBI.
The white powder in each of these letters has been field screened and the tests have met with negative results. The powder has been forwarded to local laboratories for further testing. The FBI has contacted the governors’ offices and State Department to be on the lookout for additional letters.
To date, all letters have been postmarked from Texas. These letters are all similar in nature.
Sending a hoax letter is serious and can have severe consequences. This is a great drain on each city’s response teams.
This investigation is being conducted by the Dallas office of the FBI and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
Anyone with information on who may be sending these letters is requested to contact the FBI, USPIS, or local law enforcement.
If you receive a letter, please notify the FBI and your local authorities. Information on how to handle a suspicious package can be found on

Walk-a-way from Casa Grande transitional housing

FROM: Suzanne Pardee
Public Information Officer
DATE: December 16, 2008

SUBJECT: Walk-a-way (Aaron McMorris)


Officials of the Nevada Department of Corrections report that inmate Aaron McMorris walked away from the Casa Grande Transitional Housing facility sometime after 7:30 p.m. this evening. Inmate McMorris is a 22-year-old black male. He is 6’3” tall and approximately 210 pounds, black hair, and brown eyes. Identifying tattoos include a playboy bunny upper left arm, a 5” scar on left wrist, and a 3” scar on his neck. Inmate McMorris was serving a 16 – 40 month sentence for possession of a stolen vehicle. He was received from Clark County.

At the time last seen he was wearing a white polo style pullover shirt, khaki pants and white tennis shoes. Anyone with information regarding inmate McMorris should contact Dave at 702-348-8933 or the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Homicide: MLK and Owens


December 16, 2008
EVENT #: 081216-1094

Lt. Lew Roberts
Robbery/Homicide Bureau

On December 16, 2008 at approximately 8:48 a.m., officers responded to the area of Martin Luther King and Owens, in regards to a male subject who had been shot while in his vehicle and in traffic. Upon officers arrival, they discovered an African American male suffering from multiple gunshot wounds sitting in the front drivers seat of his vehicle. The victim was subsequently transported to University Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.

According to witnesses at the scene, the victim was in his vehicle waiting to go westbound on Owens, when a male subject who was also stuck in traffic, exited a white Nissan vehicle and walked up to the victim vehicle and fired multiple rounds into the drivers seat. The suspect who is described as being either African American or Hispanic, calmly walked back to his vehicle and made a u-turn eastbound on Owens and fled the scene. The suspect vehicle is described as a newer model Nissan with Nevada plates.

Anyone with information regarding this event is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 385-5555 or the LVMPD Homicide Section at 828-3521. The identity of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and autopsy by the Clark County Coroners Office.

Crimetracker 3 New Year's Special

The Crimetracker 3 team is hard at work on a New Year's Special. We know, we know.. there are a lot of crime safety kind of shows out there. But this one is all about what's happening in *your* neighborhood. We're going to focus on the kinds of crimes taking place locally, and how you can protect yourself. It airs early on New Year's Day. I mean early. 6AM to be exact. But hey, you'll probably be up anyway bringing in the New Year. So as you're nursing the day after hangover or blues from your celebration, we hope you click on the tube and check it out. At least TIVO it, would ya?

Teen Text Party Alert

Today Metro sent out a media advisory about the dangers of spreading the word about a party via text message. Crimetracker 3 first covered the story last Friday, December 12th. Here's Metro's release:

With the holidays fast approaching, Metro would like parents to be aware of one of the reasons planned juvenile parties often grow larger than expected.
Metro is seeing an increasing amount of juvenile parties getting out of hand in the Las Vegas Valley due to the appearance of uninvited guests. A party that was intended to be a small gathering for 10-15 friends often turns into a large gathering of hundreds of people, due to the invited guests text messaging all of their friends and advising them of the parties location.
These uninvited guests often bring weapons, drugs and alcohol to the party, and are often from rival gangs. Many times they cause a large disturbance in the neighborhood because of parking
problems, littering and loud music. More serious crimes, such as burglaries and auto thefts, are
sometimes discovered following the party, and because of the unintentional presence of rival gang factions, these events often end in violence.
There are steps parents can take to prevent this from happening at their house:
1. Advise their children to invite their friends via the phone, so the invitation cannot be forwarded.
2. Advise the invited guests they are not allowed to bring any other guests.
3. If during the party things get out of hand, call the police and request assistance in ending
the party.
4. Parents who are leaving town and leaving their teenage children at home should notify
their neighbors of this fact, and request the neighbor call the police if they believe there is a
prohibited party at the residence.
Parents need to be aware they are responsible for what happens in their home, even if they are not present. Homeowners could face both civil and criminal repercussions for the actions of those at the party.

First blog

It's about time Crimetracker 3 caught up with the rest of the world. Let's have a blog: all the cool kids are doing it! And while we may not be kids or cool, we'll certainly try to bring you information beyond what we can bring you in our broadcast segments on Channel 3.

We also want your feedback and ideas, so please write us at: